Although SEO scams have existed for quite a long time, they have become increasingly common in recent years, with small business owners accounting for the majority of victims. This has been attributed to the lack of enough resources and know-how among such entrepreneurs. Still, SEO will only continue to grow in importance with time and, as such, it’s crucial that everyone knows how to avoid scams.
Don’t Fall for Snake Oil Merchants
If you’re like most small entrepreneurs, you probably know very little about SEO and digital marketing as a whole. Although it would be impossible to master the complex elements of such an advanced field, your lack of awareness means you’re more likely to fall for scams. Fortunately, you can greatly reduce your exposure to learning the patterns behind common SEO scams.
Pre-Packaged SEO Solutions
In the early 2000s, one of the most commonly used SEO practices involved blasting links pointing to a particular site to a bunch of different websites. As the effectiveness of this tactic started to diminish, it’s popularity dipped, and it gradually faded into oblivion. Although some agencies still use this practice as part of their bundled solutions, there’s a handful of issues that could result from employing it, including:
- Unqualified leads: Not all site traffic is similar, which means there’s no way around tweaking an online marketing strategy to see what attracts more traffic.
- Results only last for a short time: The smart search engine algorithms of today know how to recognize link-building that’s less than natural. So while you may see results within a short time, search engines will eventually penalize you by ranking you lower.
In the long run, pre-packaged solutions could make your site get blacklisted by search engines, meaning it won’t even show up on the results. So before you start working with any agency, ask them to describe the process through which they’re going to reach your goals in detail.
Cold calls and unsolicited emails are commonly preferred by SEO scammers. In particular, most site owners have received some spam email about SEO, with most of them promising to improve search rankings. It’s however important to note that professional agencies prefer to reach out to potential clients via blog posts and online advertising, rather than unsolicited emails. So if you ever receive an email from anyone promising Nashville SEO results that sound too good to be true, just mark the message as spam and move on.
Free SEO Trials
Optimizing a website to boost search rankings often involves plenty of work. This means that practically no agency will be willing to offer free services, that is unless they’re using shortcuts to complete some tasks. This is usually the case with scammers — after offering free trials, they’ll likely ask for FTP access from the site owner, then use a software to do the work. This not only makes your site vulnerable to hackers, but the use of programs to complete tasks will also attract huge penalties from major search engines.
A legitimate agency should be more than happy to explain what they’re going to do to your site. While this doesn’t mean they will disclose everything (most have proprietary information), they should describe their services in a manner that makes you comfortable. If you come across a firm that fails to do so, claiming they have ‘trade secrets’, you can be sure that they’ll be using shady techniques that could get you banned by all search engines.
The online landscape is constantly evolving, which means it’s impossible for anyone to predict how a site will respond to certain optimization measures. While a good strategy could make your site ascend the rankings, their only way to guarantee results is to enroll for PPC (pay-per-click) adverting. If an agency has offered to work on your site, claiming they have insider knowledge of any search engine algorithms, they’re simply lying to you. On a related note, it’s important to ask for case studies from any agency you’re thinking of working with; this is the only way you can evaluate their proficiency and skill.
Although most SEO companies aren’t out to take advantage of you, quite a number of them have been known to engage in shady tactics. And like is the case with typical scammers, the latter often take advantage of their victims’ ignorance. The best way to avoid being taken for a ride is to educate yourself. So besides knowing the signs to look out for, click here for Delaware SEO reviews to check the reputation of the firm(s) you’re thinking of hiring.